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What is the Connection Strategy?

In the Maverick Content Studio launch story (you can read that here), I talked about a document I wrote years ago called the Connection Strategy. So what is The Connection Strategy?

"To create valuable, sustainable customer relationships, great brands don't sell their customers - they seduce them by connecting. Impactful, memorable, emotional connections lead to true brand loyalty. It's time for a change. We will not win our customers if we do not connect with them with relevance, and emotion on a consistent basis in a way that satisfies their wants and needs, which is a pivot from the product and feature focus of today. This pivot requires us to build such an emotional connection that they crave who we are and what we stand for."

The Connection Strategy is about a new approach to marketing. It's about prioritizing engagement and connection first and always-on. We will talk more about always-on another time.

I thought in this first newsletter I should share a bit more about what I believe, and what we are here to change.

  • Today people will see 5,000+ ads

  • People will trash 10-15 emails immediately, that took weeks to create and get approved

  • You will skip ads on YouTube, to get to the thing you actually want to see

Does that not make us all insane? We spend months crafting the perfect commercial that millions of people effortlessly skip with a click of their mouse in a split second. I have been inside these marketing teams, and I know how employees feel. This is NOT what we signed up for. We are marketers, creators, strategists and storytellers.

I know you care, and you see what I see. Why do we sit idly by and act like things have not changed?

I have spent all of my career in digital, but we have gone bonkers with performance, automation, AI, and conversion marketing. We have lost the art of creativity, persuasion, and storytelling.

People hate "ads", I said it.

I saw this week the VP of Creative for Liquid Death, Andy Pearson, in a discussion with a person on LinkedIn, say this, “We don't make commercials. Commercials are things you have to force people to watch using your money because they don't want to naturally watch them on your own.” I tried to like that post multiple times, and LinkedIn would not let me.

Every week I talk with a new CEO, CMO, and Head of Marketing and they all say the same thing, "we have a great story to tell, but we are having trouble telling it".

This is not just all fluffy storytelling, this is about building high performing growth brands. This is one of my fav quotes that I have used in many executive decks when talking make the case for content - feel free to use is:

Our research across hundreds of brands in dozens of categories shows that the most effective way to maximize customer value is to move beyond mere customer satisfaction, and connect with customers at an emotional level - tapping into their fundamental motivations and fulfilling their deep, often unspoken emotional needs - Harvard Business Review.

Connect first!

This is actually great news! There is a tremendous opportunity for companies and brands to stand out by connecting first. A friend of mine used to say, “Guest first, value first.”

So here is the challenge to you Mavericks of Marketing. Let’s be better, let’s challenge the status quo, let’s ask the right questions, and push our brands, our teams, and our leaders to not create content that gets skipped, but content that gets watched, shared and loved.

This is what Radical Content is all about. If you create content people love, and invite them to participate, they will know, like, and love your brand.

That was a lot I know, and most topics won't be that heavy, but I want to inspire people to believe we can be the change. Next week, we will get a bit more functional and I am going to share what I think are pillars of becoming a connection-first, content brand.

📖 Studiotales - Weekly Stories from Maverick Content Studio

  • Never underestimate the power of your network and the people you might meet. Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting an amazing individual who loved the launch story. I have a feeling that our discussion will lead to some incredible collaborations in the next 6-12 months.

  • Every day, I am reminded of the power of a genuine, transparent, and authentic story. It's incredible how my story has touched so many people. It has been a remarkable aspect of the launch. It was also great content. Great content, and great storytelling travels well on digital.

  1. If you want this newsletter when it comes out every Monday, subscribe here to get it in your inbox.

  2. Download my Free Content Strategy Template here. This has been built and tested for over fifteen years leading social and content for Fortune 500 brands.

Let's all Connect First and Create More.


Eric Gray

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